26 January 2014

Ringside: Impact Wrestling Review - Jan 23, 2014

Going forward, our weekly Ringside review of Impact Wrestling will be posted on TNAMecca each and every Sunday night at 6:00PM EST.  For those in the UK, who have just finished watching Genesis part Two on Challenge TV, please feel free to share with us your thoughts of tonight's show.  What did you like about it?  What didn't you like?  What did you think of the Wolves' promo?

Chris Regal
There was a lot of criticism, last week, about the lack of wrestling on Genesis Part One so it was nice to see TNA deliver a strong wrestling show this week.  TNA has always been a hybrid of the WWE-style sport entertainment and Ring of Honor-esque pro wrestling so they have the right mix of two.  Sometimes they'll veer a little too far to one side or the other but ultimately, it always evens out.

Kurt Angle vs Bobby Roode was TNA's first Match of the Year candidate.  It was one of those matches that had it all - brutality, stiff shots, dangerous spots, and most importantly, the drama.  It was truly spectacular.  In other matches, Austin Aries vs Chris Sabin was easily their best outing with some nice spots and a nice twist in the end, courtesy of Velvet Sky.  Some thought her presence was too much of a distraction but I enjoy matches that aren't one-dimensional.  I thought TNA gave us just enough drama without overbooking the finish.  Well done.  James Storm vs Gunner was, not surprisingly, a pretty stiff match with an awesome high spot by Storm.  I liked the added stipulation of the winner needing to have full possession of the briefcase.  Samoa Joe absolutely annihilated Rockstar Spud in what was one of the most enjoyable squash matches you'll ever see.  It's also nice to see Joe get another win, hopefully on his way to a world title match against Magnus at Lockdown.

And finally, Magnus vs Sting was the perfect way to end such a great episode.  Like AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy before him, Sting fell prey to Team Dixie and its affiliates, EGO, the Bro Mans, and Zema Ion.  One by one, they all took their shots at Sting and his allies (Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle).  In the end, the young lions of Impact Wrestling brought down their huge prey and ended his TNA career, maybe literally.  It was a wonderfully symbolic moment in so many ways.

Favorite Moment - The Wolves promo regarding the reveal of the new investor.  Although some were critical of the Wolves' debut, I think TNA have brilliantly found a way to introduce Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards in a way that made the most impact.  This week's promo was a slam dunk and have cemented the Wolves as a tag team to be reckoned with.

Least Favorite Moment - I don't recall any moments that I disliked on this week's show, although the Bro Mans promo fell flat on its face.

MVP of the Night - This one's tough because quite a few men made huge impacts this week.  I could conceivably award this to Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, Magnus, the Wolves, among others.  In the end, I thought Kurt Angle stood out from the others.  Kudos to him.

Grade - I loved the show this week.  It had a perfect balance of promos and wrestling and it packed quite a punch with the amount of storyline progression we got - the Wolves' announcement, the new investor's higgen agenda, Sting's last match, Samoa Joe's resurgence, Abyss' sudden fondness for going after babyfaces, etc.  For this reason, this week's Genesis Part Two gets a A- from me.

I figured most fans would enjoy Genesis Part 2 more than Part 1 and that proved to be true.  The opening backstage segment with The Carter's lawyer was decent.  The New Investor stuff is a huge hook to fans that enjoy the storyline aspect of pro-wrestling.  The subsequent in-ring promo with Team Dixie made me look forward to what their reaction will be on the various U.K. Tour IMPACT shows, as it SHOULD be outrageous heat on Magnus in accordance with how they've built him up (especially in Scotland the next 2 weeks).  The writing was on the wall for Sting to lose so it did kind of take some of the magic out of the main event set-up.  The Gunner/Storm match was hard-hitting and pretty decent.  Gunner retaining the briefcase makes sense but I just don't find him to be capable of being World Champ in the immediate future.  Storm needs to move on and find a better direction for a while. 

The Velvet Sky #IMPACT365 video was kind of dumb, and the audio was a split second off (which made me feel like I was watching an old kung-fu-type-of-movie where the Japanese to English translation was off).  Austin Aries and Chris Sabin are 2 excellent wrestlers and are fine representatives of the X-Division.  It's just sad to see the X-Division be reduced to the shell of what it used to be.  Aries and Sabin are playing hot potato with the title belt which is kind of eh..........I'd like to see different match-ups with Manik and Kenny King or a Roderick Strong coming back but who knows if that will come to fruition.  The Wolves vignette was perfectly executed.  I have since watched it multiple times and you can really pick up on a couple different things when you watch it over again.  It's clear that they are part of the biggest angle in TNA right now, and that is so refreshing to see. 

Angle VS Roode was a classic bout again.  Angle took some sick bumps in this match as he continues to prove why he is the cyborg of professional wrestling.  His threshold for pain has got to be unbelievably high to keep putting his neck, back, and knees through so much.  He just keeps coming back for more over and over again.  Roode is still in a great position to eventually fight Magnus, as Dixie "owes him a favor".  Spud and EC3 backstage was comedy gold.  I love these 2 guys!  BroMans VS EY/Abyss for the tag titles was set-up for Glasgow in the ring, and I personally am glad that Abyss is being featured instead of mostly Joseph Park now.  A touching backstage interview from Kurt Angle talking about Sting, as Angle is a very genuine guy and that translates well on TV. 

Samoa Joe completely destroyed Rockstar Spud and it was a beautiful thing to behold.  Spud puts off the "weasel" vibe so well that it makes fans clamour for him to get his ass kicked.  Sting VS Magnus was fairly similar to Magnus/AJ except it wasn't nearly as blatant.  Sting was meant to go, and I will nearly guarantee you that it's not the last appearance for Sting in TNA.  Magnus is a hated heel champion going in to Glasgow, Scotland.  There's no better way that this could have been formulated to induce a most invested response from fans in the U.K.  Such quality writing to the shows lately in my humble opinion.     

Favorite Moment - The Wolves vignette was frickin' awesome.

Least Favorite Moment - The fact that they never start the show with a match AND lack of depth and time dedicated to the real X-Division.

MVP of the Night - Magnus of course.  He is going to be ON FIRE  in Ireland, Scotland and England.

Grade - I will give this show a B+ as I found it to be only slightly better than last week instead of the dramatic difference that most people believe it was.

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